Plot: Mr. Robot takes place in present day America (2015) with the inclusion of a fictional corporation (E-Corp) omnipresent in everyone’s lives. E-Corp. Every aspect of people’s lives from where they buy their groceries, to their bank or their electricity etc depends on E-Corp. This conglomerate of industries represents abusive omnipresent corporatism in America.
We see Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) a young software engineer who by day works at AllSafe, a tech midsize security company who provide online safety to E-Corp. By night he is a hacker who enjoys breaking into security systems and hunting down criminals. After preventing a DDoS attack on his company’s client he is contacted by a mysterious hacker: Mr. Robot who approaches him on the subway and invites him to join his group of hacktivist known as FSociety.
FSociety’s plan is to eliminate all digital debt and freeing people from their unbeknownst condition of financial slavery. The organisation includes various extravagant and talented hackers such as Darlene, and outspoken confident hacker with a bipolar – antagonistic and sometimes oddly close attitude with Elliot. They carry out several attacks on E-Corp until they finally accomplish their objective: a major hack known as the 5-9 attack.
Elliot’s only real friend is a co-worker called Angela Moss. She is a young, sweet and caring woman, whom we realise has been Elliot’s friend since they were children. Both of them lost their parents to an industrial negligence by E-Corp in the past and this binds them together. She dates another co-worker, Ollie, who proves to be quite a simpleton and whom Elliot openly dislikes. After learning that her boyfriend cheated on her, she has her revenge by planting an infected CD on his computer at work jeopardising not only his but also her future career and the entire company’s.
Throughout the story we are also introduced to another of the show’s most notable characters: Tyrell Welleck, an ultra ambitious executive from E-Corp with a skill for programming and who immediately likes Elliot and tries to convince him to join forces at the firm with him. He is desperate to become the company’s CTO and is ready to play all sorts of dirty tricks which eventually backfires on him and is fired from the company. However in Elliot he has found his true destiny and decides to join FSociety.
Critique: Mr. Robot is a masterpiece by Sam Esmail. It draws influences from some of the most iconic movies from the late 20th century and early 2000’s such as The Matrix, Fight Club and American Psycho. Rami Malek is superb at playing Elliot Alderson, a socially awkward, insecure engineer who trusts very few people. Carly Chaikin is fantastic as the outspoken and charismatic hacker. Portia Doubleday is spot on when representing Elliot’s touch with the lighter side of society. BD Wong is superb as White Rose, one of the show’s ultimate villains just like Philip Price interpreted with mastery by Michael Cristofer whose every performance sends shivers down your spine. Martin Wallström is very relatable as one of the show’s antagonists who hides his insecurities and need to belong somewhere behind a façade of Patrick Bateman 2.0. However one of the best news from this series is the resurrection of Christian Slater who steals the show with his thorough impersonation of Mr. Robot, FSociety’s extravagant, charismatic and crazy leader.
Elliot Anderson (Rami Malek) – Elliot is a socially awkward software engineer employed at AllSafe. He outshines every other worker there and is the favourite of his boss. By night he is a hacker who takes on criminals in real life by hacking them, exposing their crimes and anonymously sending their information to the police. Whilst being brilliant at what he does and having a kind heart he also suffers from anxiety, loneliness and depression. He is addicted to morphine and spends many evenings alone in his apartment crying in a corner. One evening after preventing a major DDoS attack on E-Corp he finds an encrypted file hidden inside the attack but decides not to delete it. The file’s name is fsociety and is a test which he unknowingly has passed. He is soon approached by a mysterious stranger in the subway; Mr. Robot, who invites him to join his group of hacktivists (FSociety), thus begins Elliots destiny as a member and eventually leader of the organisation. His relation with Mr. Robot draws very much influences from iconic movies such as Neo and Morpheus in “The Matrix” and Jack and Tyler Durden in “Fight Club”. He is mesmerised by his charisma and at the same terrified by his insanity and unpredictability. Yet despite initial doubts he decides to join forces with him. He develops a romantic relationship with his drug dealer and neighbour, Shayla, a sweet and caring woman who deeply loves Elliot and is also fond of Angela, his childhood friend for whom he has some confusing and unresolved romantic feelings. His relationship with Tyrell Welleck is another of the main engines of the story. In Tyrell he sees another a skilled programmer yet working for “the enemy” since being an executive at a conglomerate he is the archetype of everything he is not. Like with with Mr. Robot he is also terrified when he sees glimpses of his potential danger Tyrell is capable of. Slowly Elliot starts to get drawn into this dangerous and unpredictable world of digital wars getting in touch with cyber terrorists like the Dark Army performing hacks on major corporations. Yet in contrast with other surrounding him, his gentle heart and need to protect others weaker than him remains untouched.
Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) – An electric character, from the very first scene with Mr. Robot we see an extravagant, comic yet charismatic man. Mr. Robot personifies the freedom from rules, from social norms, from the law and even from reality that Elliot needs in order to become the leader of a movement that liberates society. Mr. Robot is a strange character who oddly does not seem to interact with other people in the room if Elliot is present. He proves to highly unstable and dangerous bordering on terrorist tendencies where he feels no remorse in killing people in some of his attacks. Elliot manages to talk some sense into him and they carry on their attacks whilst not endangering other people’s lives.
With regards to Elliot, Mr. Robot has a disturbingly contradicting relationship, he pushes him off a pier hurting him and some weeks later helps him overcome cold turkey before going to hack Steel Mountain, one of E-Corps main bases. He is always guiding Elliot, sometimes to his disgust, encouraging him to let go off some people in order to be free.
Elliot never really suspects who Mr. Robot really is since one of traumas is that he suffers from short term memory loss. Slowly and gradually Mr. Robot’s true identity is revealed to the audience and to him much to his shock.
Tyrell Welleck (Martin Wallström) – Tyrell is introduced to us as the archetypal young ultra ambitious executive working for a giant corporation in New York. He is skilled as a software engineer and one day aspires to be E-Corp’s youngest CTO. His character is clearly inspired by Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He is obsessed with always dressing in expensive suits, hair perfectly combed, body muscles always tense and worked out. One of the main forces behind him is his manipulative wife Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen) an insane woman with a thirst for power that knows no limits.
Tyrell is also clinically insane and so servile to his wife who pushes him to do what’s necessary to become CTO that he has sex with a male secretary just to gain access to his emails, or play mind games with the other candidate’s wife.
When he finds out he is not going to be CTO he pays his frustration by paying a homeless man to allow him to beat him up. This indicates how distorted his perception of reality is where his sense of entitlement is above any ability to accept criticism and his sense of superiority over others leads him to believe the life of other inferior beings has no real value.
He is enthralled by Elliot and after offering him a position which he turns down begins to observe him and finds out that he is moving towards behind something bigger and more exciting E-Corp can ever offer him. After getting fired from his job he joins forces with Elliot to destroy the establishment.
Darlene (Carly Chaikin) – Darlene is one of the members of FSociety. As a hacker she is immensely talented and courageous never hesitating to do what’s necessary to accomplish the organisation’s goals. When Elliot is introduced to her by Mr. Robot she is oddly very forward with him. One day Elliott even finds her in his apartment which completely baffles him. She is dating a freelance hacker who also works for The Dark Army in a somewhat dysfunctional, sometimes tender relationship. She is also seen as a leader within the organisation, especially by Trenton, the other female hacker in the group.Slowly and gradually Darlene’s true identity revealed to Elliott sending him to a state of complete shock.
Angela Moss (Portia Doubleday) – Angela is a marketing manager working at AllSafe. She is a kind, trusting and considerate woman who cares for the wellbeing of others. She is Elliott’s oldest friend and bridges him towards having a normal life for a twenty year old living in Manhattan. She likes to come by his apartment to make sure he is ok, she invites him to go out to have some drinks and socialises with him at work. She is dating Ollie, a simpleton who cheats on her with other women he flirts with online. When she finds out she has her revenge by installing an infected CD on his work computer knowing full well that this will not only destroy his career but the future of the entire company. She decides to take E-Corp to court for their negligence in her mother’s death. However her father is heavily in debt with the corporation and accepts an extremely well paid job with them in exchange for dropping the suit.
White Rose (BD Wong) although only partially we are treated to one of the show’s main villians. White Rose is the transgender leader of The Dark Army, a Chinese cyber terrorist group with no code of conduct They are mercenaries who will hack anyone, including Russia, Iran or North Korea. White Rose is a strong leader, with a complete knowledge of everything that goes in her surrounding with an obsessive need to control time. She poses as Minister Zhang in public leaving a double life.
Fernando Vera (Elliot Villar) – Vera is one of Mr. Robots most menacing villains. He is a drugs and guns dealer and Shayla’s only supplier of drugs. Vera has one of the darkest and unnerving personalities on Mr. Robot. He openly confesses to Elliot about having battled the desire to commit suicide and hating himself in his past. He drugs Shayla and rapes her to have her under his control. Elliot hacks him and sends his file to the police who arrest him but even behind bars he is able to order his brother and business partner to kidnap Shayla and have Elliot hack the prison so that he can escape.
Shayla Nico (Frankie Shaw) – Shayla is Elliot’s neighbour and eventually his girlfriend. She also supplies him with drugs. Yet despite being a drug dealer there is a tender and gentle side to Shayla. A side hidden away from social media and digital records and therefore hidden from society that Elliot himself was not able to see until he saw it with his own eyes. He is fascinated and touched by the fact that he is actually getting to know Shayla in person and real life without having to hack her. After Vera’s arrest she realises she has no supply of drugs and therefore no future income and leaves the crime world to start a more law abiding citizen working as a waitress and longing for a happier life with Elliot by her side.